Friday, March 29, 2019

Colorado's Native Bees

 Leaf-cutting bee, Megachile fidelis, photo courtesy CSU Extension

The following information on native bees is provided by The Bees Needs, a citizen science project about native bees and wasps in the Boulder area. Take a look at the website for more information.

What is a “native bee”?
A native bee is a bee that occurs naturally in a region. Colorado has over 950 species of bees, and all but a handful of these are native. Most of the few introduced (i.e. non-native) species that now call Colorado home were brought in accidentally. The most well-known non-native bee is the honey bee. Honey bees were intentionally brought to North America. Today, honey bees are important pollinators of many of our agricultural crops, especially those that are also non-native.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Bumble Bee Identification Guide for Colorado

Bombus variabilis, Colorado's rarest bumble bee
Bumble bees have long fascinated humankind, at least since Carl Linneaus described six species in 1758 (Integrated Taxonomic Information System). Bumble bees are effective pollinators in urban, natural, and agricultural systems.The genus Bombus includes 250 bumble bee species worldwide, with 46 species present in North America, north of Mexico. Half of these—24 species total—occur in Colorado. 

Saturday, March 23, 2019

The Benefits of Core Aeration

Photo courtesy

Aeration, or core cultivation, is standard lawn care. Aerating a lawn means supplying the soil with air, usually by poking holes in the ground throughout the lawn using an aerator. It reduces soil compaction and helps control thatch in lawns while helping water and fertilizer move into the root zone. A lawn can be aerated at any time the ground is not frozen, but should not be done when it is extremely hot and dry. Spring and fall are considered the best times for aeration. Heavy traffic areas will require aeration more frequently. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Spring Equinox in Colorado 2019 by Carol King

Photo by Carol King
The first day of spring brings joy to every gardener’s heart marking the beginning of the gardening season in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the unofficial time to start our gardens and regardless of the weather, we’re ready! Spring arrives here along the Front Range of Colorado on Wednesday, March 20, 2018 at 3:58pm MDT. This is also called the vernal equinox.

There are two equinoxes every year –  March and September – when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of the night and day are nearly equal. (In reality equinoxes don't have exactly 12 hours of daylight, but close enough.) The March equinox marks the moment the sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from south to north. This happens on March 19, 20 or 21 every year.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Gardening Power to the People: Raised Bed Gardening

Gardening in Colorado's clay soil can be difficult, and raised beds are an alternative. Barbara LaRowe, Jefferson County Colorado Master Gardener, provides helpful information about gardening in raised beds. March is a good time to get those raised beds constructed!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

A to Z: Gardening Vocabulary for Beginners

Photo courtesy Donna Duffy
New to gardening? Here’s a cheat sheet of definitions to help you understand what those experienced gardeners are talking about!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Spring Forward With Your Gardening By Joyce D’Agostino

It’s March, and for gardeners this means that Spring is quickly approaching. For most of us in the US, we will observe the “spring forward” by setting our clocks an hour of daylight ahead on March 10, 2019 to observe Daylight Savings time. This month the “Vernal Equinox” or the first day of spring also occurs in March on March 20, 2019. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Forcing Shrub or Tree Branches to Bloom Indoors by Bonnie Griffith

Photo kids
This time of year can be difficult for Colorado gardeners.  The weather can be absolutely beautiful, and we want to go outside and garden, but we know it’s much too early to remove our rose collars or plant annuals!  So here’s an activity for midwinter days when you want to hurry spring—cut flowering branches and bring them inside to flower.
Just about any flowering shrub or tree can be forced to flower early.  Here is a list of some of the most commonly available in Colorado gardens:
  • Apple and Crabapple (Malus spp)
  • Cherry and Plum (Prunus spp)
  • Dogwood (Cornus florida)
  • Forsythia (Forsythis spp)
  • Honeysuckle (Lonicera spp)
  • Lilac (Syringa spp)
  • Pussy willow (Salix caprea)
  • Quince (Chaenomeles spp)
  • Redbud (Cercis Canadensis)
  • Spirea (Spiraea spp)
  • Viburnum (Viburnum spp)
Cut one to two-foot long branches or twigs from the shrub or tree, choosing pieces with as many plump buds as you can find.  Keep in mind what the shrub will look like later in the year—you don’t want to damage its beauty when it is leafed out.  
Use a sharp pruning tool to make the cuts.  After you’ve brought your branches inside, carefully split the cut ends about an inch with a sharp knife.  Then place them in a vase half-filled with warm water.  Set the vase in a warm, sunny location and be sure and change the water every few days. 

You will be rewarded with blooms in one or more weeks.  Voila!  Enjoy your early spring!
Here's an article from Purdue University Extension for more information:

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Time to Prune Apple Trees in Front Range Colorado by Carol O'Meara

Carol O'Meara from Boulder County Extension gives us a hands on look at the proper way to prune an apple tree.  The time for pruning is now before bud break!

Here's a fact sheet also.